TBR Alphabet Tag

I don’t know what it is about book tags, but I see a whole bunch I want to do, I write up a draft almost immediately in a notebook, and then it takes me ages to type it up, edit, and post it on the blogsphere. I don’t get it.

Oh well. I saw this tag on Kristin’s blog a little while ago. Here it is now: the TBR Alphabet Tag.

 

A

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker

Screenshot_2019-06-16 An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason

 

B

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Beyond a Darkened Shore

 

C

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Crimson Bound

 

D

(The) Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken

Screenshot_2019-06-16 The Darkest Legacy (The Darkest Minds, #4)

 

E

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Empress of All Seasons

 

F

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Far from the Tree

 

G

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Geekerella (Once Upon a Con, #1)

 

H

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Heretics Anonymous

 

I

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Isle of Blood and Stone (Tower of Winds, #1)

 

J

None

 

K

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Kindred

 

L

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Little Lion

 

M

My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd

Screenshot_2019-06-16 My Name Is Venus Black

 

N

Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Northwest Angle (Cork O'Connor, #11)

 

O

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Out of the Easy

 

P

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Providence

 

Q: (The) Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

Screenshot_2019-06-16 The Queen's Rising (The Queen’s Rising, #1)

 

R

Ruined by Amy Tintera

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Ruined (Ruined, #1)

 

S: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1)

 

T

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)

 

U

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Under Rose-Tainted Skies

 

V

(The) Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

Screenshot_2019-06-16 The Virgin's Lover (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #13)

 

 

W

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crawley

Screenshot_2019-06-16 Words in Deep Blue

 

X

None

 

Y

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

Screenshot_2019-06-16 You're Welcome, Universe

 

Z

None

 

I tag:

Shanah

Grey

Rebecca

Crystal

Sophie

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Top 5 Tuesday: Five Adventurous Books for Gryffindors

First off, shout out to Shanah for this brilliant idea for Top 5 Tuesday. When I think February, I think “love” and “romance,” thanks to Valentine’s Day. But Harry Potter is much better!

For this week’s theme, and the themes following, I selected books I think those in the respective Hogwarts Houses might like based on the personality traits they value. Gryffindors are known for their bravery, but of all the Houses, I feel they produce the least amount of readers (with Hermione Granger being the exception, of course). If a Gryffindor did decide to read a book, it would have to be something with a lot of action. And the protagonist absolutely cannot be a wimp. They would rather be off fighting dark wizards and saving the day, so the book better be worth their time.

The five books I would recommend to the lionhearted, adventurous Gryffindors are:

 

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

heroes18

Besides being action-packed and bursting with humor, every single one of the seven main demigods could be a Gryffindor. Percy Jackson especially, with his sense of humor, loyalty, and strong moral compass. Leo, Harry, and Ron would be best buds, as none of them take themselves seriously. Annabeth and Hermione would definitely get along, as they are both strong, intelligent women that are natural leaders driven by pride. When first introduced, Hazel and Frank come off as weak, but they grow into their roles, much like Harry did. Piper has a good head on her shoulders and she is there when you need her to be, while Jason has no problem leading the charge in battle. Of all the books I recommend on this list, a Gryffindor reader would definitely enjoy The Heroes of Olympus series.

 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

skywardlibrarybook

Skyward is a science fiction novel where pilots risk their lives defending their planet from an evil alien race and the society’s culture thrives on valor. To the point where you show any sign of weakness, you set yourself up for humiliation, even branded a coward in some instances. Protagonist Spensa is definitely a Gryffindor, though unfortunately in possession of the House’s worst qualities: arrogant, impulsive, hot-tempered, and often doesn’t think before she acts.

Which is why only a Gryffindor can truly appreciate Skyward. While the rest of us might see the beliefs of this society as reckless, Gryffindors respect bravery and value it over most things. Also, this book is filled with exciting scenes on the battlefield and there is never a dull moment.

 

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

thehungergames

Katniss Everdeen is without a doubt a Gryffindor, one that any would aspire to be. It takes a lot of courage to do what she did—volunteering to participate in the Hunger Games to save her sister, taking on a government system at seventeen—and to survive what she did. While there are some slow moments, particularly in the second book Catching Fire, there is an overwhelming feeling of intensity throughout the series. You’re on edge the entire time, waiting for the next thing to happen.  

 

The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

It’s been a few years since I read The Darkest Minds trilogy and, truth be told, I personally didn’t love it as much as I did Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger duology. I don’t know if I would classify Ruby, the main character of The Darkest Minds, as a Gryffindor. Personally, I think she’s more a of a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw, sneaky enough to spend five years hiding her powers in plain sight from those holding her captive. The other main characters, like my favorite Zu, are definitely Gryffindors. But the real reason The Darkest Minds trilogy is on this list is the non-stop action, the violence, and the bold government take-down done by kids with guns. I think some Gryffindor readers might enjoy that.

 

Saga graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I’m not exactly sure why, but I feel like most Gryffindors would enjoy comic books or graphic novels. Superhero comic books to be exact, the ones with all the action and butt-kicking and saving the day. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to DC or Marvel or any superhero comics yet. In the meantime, I’m recommending the Saga graphic novel series.

These graphic novels are explicit—not for the faint of heart (like a Gryffindor). They are also highly entertaining and the world is complex. The main characters, Marko, Alana, and their daughter Hazel, would all be in Gryffindor House. This family has been through so much, yet they manage to stay together as a group as well as stay strong as individuals. And this series has some good humorous moments, too.

 

Anyone else think Gryffindors are not big readers? Would you recommend to a Gryffindor the same books I did or different ones?

BIG Birthday Book Haul 2019

Looking at the number of books I bought, my bank account, and my diminishing shelf space, I came to the realization that I have a problem. I mean, I always knew I did. Now, I really know.

The goal moving forward is not buy so many books at once or check out so many from the library and find a good place to donate books I likely won’t read again. Even though I don’t want them anymore, that doesn’t mean I do not care where they end up. I want to give these books to people who will appreciate them.

Regardless, every single book in this haul is one I am excited about.

 

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

vengeful

In case you live under a rock, Vengeful is the sequel to Vicious. I bought Vicious a few months ago when the new cover was released. This is one of the series I’m planning on reading in the next few months.

 

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

fiercelikeafirestorm

Fierce Like a Firestorm is the sequel to Wicked Like a Wildfire and the concluding novel. It picks up right where the previous novel left off. While the world inside these novels is beautiful, the covers are just as gorgeous. However, Fierce Like a Firestorm looks about 100 pages shorter than Wicked Like a Wildfire. Truthfully, this has me a little worried.

 

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

brightweburn

Going along with my reading resolutions, I bought Bright We Burn to finish the Conquerors trilogy, the previous two books being And I Darken and Now I Rise. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finish this series. And I Darken was one of my favorite books the year I read it.

 

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo box set

grishaboxset

Shadow and Bone

Siege and Storm

Ruin and Rising

This is a series I have wanted to get into for years. I had the Grisha trilogy saved on my both my Amazon wish list and a list of books I wanted to check out from my library at various points. Then, I couldn’t take it anymore. I bit the bullet and bought the box set. Leigh Bardugo is an author I’ve heard so many good things about, yet it’s taken me far too long to finally pick up her books.

 

The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys

The Dream Thieves

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

The Raven King

I know…I planned on checking this series out of the library. Then, life happened and/or I checked out too many books (as is often the case). I didn’t even get to read the first book. I do like paranormal books. Maggie Stiefvater is another author I have known about for years and I want to read her books. And these seem like they might be easy reads for when I’m in the throes of graduate school stress. There is a strong chance I will (hopefully) enjoy The Raven Cycle series.

 

The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms

Rebel Spring

Gathering Darkness

Frozen Tides

Crystal Storm

Immortal Reign

A similar case to the Grisha trilogy and The Raven Cycle, Falling Kingdoms is a series I was interested in reading for years yet never knew if I wanted to buy it or borrow it. I took a chance buying the Falling Kingdoms series because I like high fantasy, even if the reviews of the later books are not that great. From what I’ve heard from those that have read Falling Kingdoms, this series is best read back to back anyway.

 

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

thesummerwives

The Summer Wives is a historical fiction novel set in dual time periods following the people connected to a murder that took place on an island of wealthy families. Historical mysteries are some of my favorites to read. Also, this beautiful hardcover book, like several others in this haul, were in the 50% off sale at Barnes & Noble.

 

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White  

theglassocean

Likely one of my favorite book covers in this haul, The Glass Ocean follows three women in two different time periods with ties to RMS Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915. Struggling novelist Sarah Blake is looking for her next book idea when she finds a trunk belonging to her great-grandfather, who died on the Lusitania. Enlisting the help of a disgraced former Parliament member, whose family is connected to the tragedy, she finds something that could turn history on its head.

The other storyline is on the Lusitania in 1915. Southern Belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter is trying to save her marriage while finding herself and resist her attraction to an old friend. Meanwhile, con woman Tess Fairweather is desperate to get out of the game, but she’s gotten herself in way over her head.

 

The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson

thebookshopofyesterdays

The Bookshop of Yesterdays is one of those books that checks off a lot of my boxes in the adult fiction genre. It’s set in a bookstore, there are family secrets involved, and a strong mystery element more on the sad, fluffy side of things. This is one of the books I want to read ASAP—as soon as I clear off the TBR pile I already have, of course.

 

What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi

whattheydontknow

Admittedly, What They Don’t Know was an impulse purchase. I had never heard of it until I saw it on the Barnes & Noble website under the 50% off sale. Told in journal entries, it follows teenaged girls Mellie and Lise. After something horrible happens to Mellie, she withdraws from everyone and faces a life-altering choice on her own. Lise notices the changes in Mellie’s behavior and attempts to reach out to her. But in doing so she risks exposing a secret she wants to protect, even if it could help Mellie.

I read some reviews on What They Don’t Know and found out Mellie’s secret is that she was raped and became pregnant as a result. The only other book I read that covered such an important topic was Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston. If you ask me, more books need to talk about things like this.

 

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

brokenthings

A book I previously checked out from the library and renewed twice but still didn’t get around to reading (because I’m a heathen), Broken Things is a young adult mystery novel. It follows two girls named Mia and Brynn, who were accused of murdering their friend Summer five years ago. The girls were obsessed with the novel The Way into Lovelorn, especially its villain Shadow, so much so fiction blurred into reality. Everyone thinks Brynn and Mia are responsible, particularly because of the manner Summer was killed. But when something once insignificant related to Summer’s murder resurfaces, the surviving former friends are reunited to face a long shadow of memory that has been waiting.

 

The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken

thedarkestlegacy

The spin-off to The Darkest Minds trilogy, The Darkest Legacy is set five years later after the final novel. Now seventeen, Suzanne “Zu” Kimura is a spokesperson for the interim government, advocating for the rights of other children like her. But when she is accused of a horrific act, she must go on the run with people she’s uncertain she can trust to clear her name as well as find a way to save those that were once her protectors.

 

Damsel by Elena K. Arnold

damsel

When Ama wakes up in the arms of Prince Emory, she has no memory of being rescued by him or being held captive in a dragon’s lair. She is one in a long of damsels rescued by a crown prince from a dragon and brought back to his kingdom as his bride. Ama is all on board for being a princess, but once she gets the court, she realizes there is more to the tradition of dragons and damsels than anyone knows. I love novels that turn fairy tale tropes on their heads.

 

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

graceandfury

Sisters Serina and Nomi live in a world where women have no rights. Serina was groomed to be a Grace, the image of a perfect woman to sit beside the prince on his throne. Then, her headstrong younger sister Nomi catches the eye of the heir. After failing to protect a dangerous secret, Nomi is forced into a position she never wanted while Serina is sent to an island where she must fight to the death to survive.

 

A Heart in the Body in the World by Deb Caletti

aheartinthebodyintheworld

In the spirit of Forest Gump, Annabelle runs from Seattle to Washington D.C. in an attempt to outrun the tragedy of her past and the person that haunts her. Accompanied by her grandfather in his RV and her two friends, her cross-country run captures media attention, along with various distractions. Despite the overwhelming support, Annabelle cannot escape the feelings of shame and guilt of what happened back home. Slowly, she leaves the past behind her as she runs to her destination, as well as what lies ahead.

 

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

savethedate

I checked out Morgan Matson’s most popular novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, from the library last summer, but didn’t get around to reading it. When I saw Save the Date on sale from Barnes & Noble, I took a chance. The author’s most recent release, it takes place over the course of a weekend at protagonist Charlie’s older sister’s wedding. With all four of her older siblings under the same roof for the first time in years, Charlie is looking forward to the wedding. Only nothing is going according to plan.

 

How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

howshediedhowilived

A year ago, Kyle texted five girls and only one, innocent Jamie, was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed. Now, the four who could have been are grappling with their survivor’s guilt in different ways, but the narrator in particular is stuck between the horrifying past and her anger. When she becomes drawn to Jamie’s boyfriend Charlie, their relationship is haunted by what-ifs as Kyle’s trial goes underway. But how does one learn to live again knowing she could have met the same fate as Jamie?

 

The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

thelasttoletgo

Brooke Winters comes home one day to find her mother has killed her abusive father. Her dreams of transferring schools and getting away from her dysfunctional family are shattered. Now, she and her siblings are left to fend for themselves. In the year following, she is left with the aftermath of the truth of her family and if what her mother did was murder or self-defense—and if it wasn’t wrong.

 

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

hagseed

Hag-Seed is a modern-day retelling of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. After his production is cancelled by his scheming assistant, artistic director Felix takes a job teaching theater to prisoners at a correctional facility. Comforted by the ghost of his daughter Miranda—twelve years dead—Felix uses the play the prisoners put on to get revenge on those who cheated him out of his career. But another unexpected plot twist happens when his ghost daughter wants to be a part of the prisoners’ production.

 

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

lavinia

Along with Hag-Seed, I found Lavinia inside a used bookstore a block away from a library I went to for a job interview. Besides being in perfect condition and at a cheap price, something about Lavinia called to me.

Much like Helen of Troy, Lavinia, princess of Latium, started a war. Unlike Helen of Troy, Lavinia started a war because she wouldn’t be given or taken by a man she didn’t want. Though being told by a soothsayer she is destined to marry a great hero and be the mother of a mighty dynasty, Lavinia’s parents want her to marry someone else. Her chance arrives in the form of warships sailing into the mouth of Tiber and she takes the opportunity to finally put her destiny into her own hands.

 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

theastonishingcolorofafternewbook

The only book in this entire haul I have read. The Astonishing Color of After was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I’m glad I finally have a copy (even though I probably shouldn’t have spent the money on it yet). It follows grief-stricken Leigh after her mother commits suicide. Believing her mother turned into a bird, she goes to Taiwan to meet her estranged maternal grandparents and find the bird. While there, she uncovers secrets of her mother’s past and learns how those revelations can help her move forward.

 

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo box set

Six of Crows

Crooked Kingdom  

This Six of Crows box set was an impulse buy and not. It’s a series I’ve wanted to get into for a while. All I know about it is that it follows six people on a heist set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy. Lots of people seem to love these books. Which only makes me more cautious going into the Six of Crows duology with all this hype around it. I’m pretty confident I will at least like it. Besides, the covers are gorgeous.

 

Have you read any of these books and what did you think of them?

Get to Know Ya Tag!

I found the Get to Know Ya Tag on Kristin Kraves Books. I saw the opportunity to talk about some books I have not mentioned on my blog for a while now, or maybe some I’ve never mentioned before. Plus, it’s a super fun tag getting to know people.

I don’t know who created it, but if you do know, give them a shout out.

 

Favorite book of all time

somealltimefavorites

I honestly have no idea how to answer this question. It’s like asking me to choose my favorite child, or more appropriately, since I am childless, my favorite friend. That, and I firmly believe that nobody can have just one favorite book. How is that even possible?

So, I’m going to choose five of my all-time favorite books, which are:

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

 

Favorite book five years ago

confessionsofamurdersuspect

At first, I was going to say maybe The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong or Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. For the heck of it, I checked on Goodreads for my reading stats in 2013. That was the year I picked up Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect was the first novel in a young adult mystery/thriller series following Tandoori “Tandy” Angel, the daughter of two extremely wealthy parents who are found dead in their bedroom. The only suspects are Tandy, her twin brother Harry, and her younger brother Hugo, as well as their older brother Matthew. There were a lot of twists and turns as Tandy tries to figure out who killed her parents, even if it means she did it, but the plot twist shook me to my core. I was obsessed with Confessions of a Murder Suspect, as well as its sequel, The Private School Murders, which I also read in 2013.

 

Favorite Duology/Trilogy/Series

Not surprisingly, I have an answer for all three of these.

Duology: It’s a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh and the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. Both of these made me feel everything plus they were fun, exciting reads with characters I adored.

favoriteduologies

Trilogy: Easily the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I found very little fault in these books when I read them. However, since I have not read Lord of Shadows yet and Queen of Air and Darkness is not out until December, I’m wondering if maybe The Dark Artifices will soon take its place as my favorite trilogy. And there are a few other contenders on my TBR that could prove worthy competition.

favoritetrilogy

Series: Does it count if your favorite series are incomplete? The two series (again, I’m indecisive) that I am certain are my favorites are the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco and the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just loved everything about these books.

favoriteseries

 

Last book you read

At the time I am writing this, the last book I read was A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell, a cheesy thriller about two mothers you think are best friends but they both have deep, dark secrets they use to manipulate each other. Unfortunately, it was not that entertaining.

 

Last book of poetry you read

thewitchdoesntburninthisone

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, which I read and bought as soon as it came out. While I did enjoy it, sadly, I did not love it as much as her debut collection.

 

What book most influenced your life?

Honestly…I can’t say it was just one book, because a lot of books have influenced me in different ways throughout the years. To name a few:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume is the book that awoke my passion for storytelling and inspired my first “novel” when I was eight years old.

At fifteen, The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong made me realize my strongest writing niche was in the fantasy and paranormal genres.

thedarkestpowerstrilogyfeministpoetry

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur came to me earlier this year, making me feel empowered when I wasn’t really feeling like it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book that made you ugly cry

uglycry

Definitely A List of Cages by Robin Roe made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me cry in books in general. With this book, it was a full on sob fest.

 

Book that made you laugh

funnyriordan

All the Rick Riordan books I’ve read so far. That includes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series plus the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.

 

Character you’d like to be for a day.

harry potter eye roll GIF

No brainer: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I get to practice magic and go to Hogwarts, plus share a brain with one of the most badass women in literature.

 

Book so good you dreamt about it

nightmare

Hmmm…. I don’t remember my dreams. I remember my nightmares though. One book that was really good but also one I should not have read before bed was The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. There was a scene with a mirror…and I have one in my bedroom, right across from my bed, so it took me a while to go back to sleep after.

 

Book you DNF’D

afteryou

After You by Jojo Moyes, which I tried to read over a year ago. I got about 35 pages in before I had to put it down. I think it bothered me that Me Before You got a sequel when it was perfectly fine as a stand-alone, in my opinion. However, I’ve heard decent things about the third book, Still Me, when Louisa goes to New York City, so I might pick up After You again, eventually.

 

What book are you most excited to read?

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

…To name a few.

mostexcitedreads

 

I tag….

Grey (once she’s back from her hiatus! I completely forgot. Sorry Grey!)

Crystal

Shanah

Joe

And anyone else that wants to do this tag!

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 10 “Ships” I Will Sail to the Ends of the Earth

You all might be surprised to learn that I actually had an easy time coming up with this list.

Though I am a romantic at heart, “shipping” is not a priority for me. I am more interested in plot and storytelling. Romance, particularly a romance I enjoy, is just icing on the cake. Something that adds drama to make the story a little more angsty or to provide a reprise from whatever danger is going on.

All the couples on this list are not the usual ones you see in the fan art posts on Instagram—i.e. Feyre and Rhysand. More often than not, the ships everyone else ships I don’t. Or, in the case of Sarah J. Maas’s couples, I see so much of them on social media I just get fed up real quick….

The top 10 ships I will sail until the end of the earth are:

 

Jack and Ashi from Samurai Jack

GIF by Adult Swim

Not a book couple, but Jack and Ashi are from the show Samurai Jack. Samurai Jack is a Cartoon Network show about a samurai with an enchanted sword that is on a mission to defeat the evil Aku, who banished him to a future where the demon (Aku) rules the whole plant. It was produced during a time Cartoon Network was actually good. My dad, my brother, and I loved the show and never missed an episode. Originally, it was only four seasons, ending on a cliffhanger that made you wonder if Jack made it back to the past. Then, out of the blue, we find out there was a fifth season released eleven years after the previous one and proceed to binge watch it on iTunes.

Ashi is introduced in the fifth season. She was raised in a cult, the Daughters of Aku, and trained from childhood, along with her sisters, to kill Jack. In the process, she learns that everything she was brought up to believe is wrong and aids Jack in his mission. But if you know Jack and Ashi you will know angst!

            I can’t talk anymore about them. It’s been months, but I’m still not OK.

 

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

huntingprincedracula18

Move over Feysand and make room for Audrey and Thomas, who are too cool for a ship name.

There are no words to explain how much I love Audrey and Thomas, together as well as separately. Audrey is strong and independent, determined to prove her worth and she is motivated by something not romance. Thomas is a wise ass, but unlike most “bad boys with a heart of gold,” he does not hide that his heart is made of gold. These two grow together, and it’s something I love seeing.

 

Eliza Mirk and Wallace Wartland from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

elizaandhermonsters18

Every time I think of Eliza and Wallace I think GAAAAHHHHH!!!

These two are so sweet together I can’t stand it. They feel so comfortable with each other and they bond over a love of all things nerdy. The progression of their relationship is a slow and natural pace, each taking turns to initiate things. He helps her make friends while she encourages his writing project. They are as comfortable with each other in person as they are online. While I understand most people have a problem with mental illness playing a part in the relationship, I still love Eliza and Wallace together.

 

Simon Spier and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

simon18

While we don’t know who Blue is for most of the book, the development of his and Simon’s relationship is so sweet. They open up to each other and support each other. I love how Simon does not push Blue to come out of the closet until he is ready, which is something I saw in another LGBTQ young adult romance that bothered me. Plus, Blue gets Simon to open up about his own confused feelings and gives him the self-confidence boost he needed. Once they finally do meet, the reveal is simply too cute to handle.

 

Elias and Laia from An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

atorchagainstthenight17

I am aware of the “love rectangle” going on in this series, but I think after A Torch Against the Night, I’m pretty sure Elias and Laia are end game. (At least, I hope so.) They can be honest with each other. They communicate well. They were friends first. They would never do something to deliberately make the other person jealous or angry, something I see a lot in books that annoys me. Their relationship is a slow burn and likely only to progress as the series goes forward.

 

Clara Gardner and Tucker Avery from the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand

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These two are really so, so cute. Tucker loves Clara unconditionally, even though he is initially freaked out after finding out she is half-angel. Their banter is comfortable and, no matter what happened, they always find their way back to each other. While I did like Christian, Tucker’s personality complimented Clara’s better.

 

Holly Chase and Ethan Winters from The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

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Something about Cynthia Hand’s couples that just get to me. On the surface, both Holly and Ethan are spoiled rich kids, but their attitudes hide terrible pain. Both lost a parent at a young age. They were vulnerable, making it easy for their “Marley” to mold them into a different person they were not meant to be. In each other, they find themselves and someone who understands what it’s like to feel you have to protect yourself from the world.

Unfortunately, the ending is bittersweet for Ethan and Holly….

 

Molly and Reid from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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Another Becky Albertalli-invented couple, Molly and Reid are just too cute together. Molly suffers from social anxiety, but Reid makes her feel comfortable. They are not shy about being themselves around each other. Reid is nerdy and proud of it. Plus, he’s just a nice guy, not that “broody bad boy” trope I HATE.

 

Etta Spencer and Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken

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I know their relationship is kind of insta-love, yet there is something about Etta and Nicholas’s relationship that made me totally fine with it. She’s feisty and smart, while he’s good-natured and a natural leader. Their personalities compliment each other. Nicholas is the rock Etta needed while Etta encouraged Nicholas to take chances once in a while. They worked well together as a team, too.

 

Gabriel and Nathan from the Half-Bad trilogy by Sally Green

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There is no other angsty LGBTQ relationship than Nathan and Gabriel. Both are black witches in a world that hate them. While Nathan struggles with his identity crisis as both a Black and White witch, Gabriel is his most staunch supporter and the little angel on his shoulder. Gabriel is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve for Nathan, despite the latter’s constant insistence at pushing him away. When they finally do come together, it is beautiful…and then heartbreaking.

 

What are the ships you will sail to the end of the earth?

The #NotAll Book Tag!

I saw this book tag, the #NotAll Book Tag, on Rebecca Mills blog last week, created by theorangutanlibrarian. The tag came at the perfect time. I was having trouble coming up with a recommendations post or something else to write. But that’s why we have book tags.

On to the tag!

 

#NotAll Cover Changes: A Cover Change You Liked.

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Though I have not read the series yet, I do like the cover changes of The Diviners series by Libba Bray. The original cover of the first novel was pretty, but something about the paperback cover speaks to me. It embodies both genres: mystery and horror. The same with my recent editions, especially the cover of Before the Devil Breaks You. These covers kind of make me want to read the books more.

 

#NotAll Adaptions: An adaption you love more than the book.

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That would have to be Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. While the book was good, the Netflix miniseries of Alias Grace was done very well. Sarah Gordon, who played Grace Marks, did a great job at bringing a historical figure to life. All the characters, including Grace, had some morally gray tones to them. And it got down to the nitty-gritty of the story, rather than drag on the parts readers don’t care about.

 

#NotAll Tropes: A Trope You’ll Never Tire of Seeing.

Admittedly, I still love the “Chosen One” and the “lost princess” tropes. I know these are overused. But if done well, a trope might not feel so much like a trope and more like a plot.

 

#NotAll Instalove: you instaloved this InstaCouple.

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Etta Spencer and Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. While their relationship might move a little too fast for teenagers, there is definitely an instant connection between them. Normally, I strongly dislike instalove. However, the characters have a great dynamic and the relationship grows throughout the story.

 

#NotAll Love Triangles: An example of a love triangle done well.

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I adore the love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. What I hate about a lot of young adult novels is that authors often make one love interest look like a villain. For example, Sarah J. Maas, butchering characters more for the sake of introducing a “better” love interest (all the Chaol Westfall fangirls know what I’m talking about).

However, in the case of Will and Jem, both boys have equal standing. Though I was personally Team Jem for the longest time, I eventually had to admit Will had his qualities. Tessa loves both boys, and the boys are best friends who love each other. They all love each other so much and none of them want to hurt each other.

 

#NotAll Parents: bookish parents that, you know, parent!

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Molly’s two moms, Patty and Nadine, in The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. They have a healthy communication with their daughters and speak to them in a down-to-earth manner. Patty and Nadine also knew when to lay down the law. One scene that sticks out to me is when Molly’s grandmother goes too far in talking about Molly’s weight problems. Patty actually pulled her mother aside and told her to keep her opinions to herself. My father never did that with his mother when she made comments about my weight. Seeing a parent do something about that in a book struck a cord with me.

 

#NotAll Villains: a villain you love.

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I don’t know why, but Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I love to hate her I guess. She did horrible, horrible things to everyone in that series—Feyre, Rhys, Tamlin, Lucien—and she ruled with terror for fifty years. But, when you think about it, at her core Amarantha is a scorned woman that cursed innocent people because she couldn’t handle rejection.

 

#NotAll Chosen Ones: a chosen one you can get behind.

Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. He’s funny and he rolls with whatever happens. He never feels sorry for himself, either. Percy is simply motivated to do the right thing.

 

#NotAll Hyped Books: a book that lived up to the acclaim.

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Most recently, that would have to be Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. BookTube commonly described it as a “love letter to fandom.” That is exactly what this book was. I related to Eliza; in high school, I was a lot like her. I didn’t have any close friends. I preferred books and the Internet to my peers. I felt my parents didn’t fully understand the things I enjoyed. I loved writing and it took up my life. Some of that has changed now I’m 25, but a lot of the things that are important to Eliza are still important to me.

 

#NotAll Contemporary: a book you’re not keen on from your favorite genre.

My favorite is fantasy. Likely two of the most beloved works of fiction in that genre I have no interest in reading is the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and the Lord of the Ring trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The books are just too big and dense. There are so many others that I want to read more than those. I have no interest in the Game of Thrones show (despite my dad’s best efforts) or the Lord of the Ring movies either.

Feel free to convince me, if you want.

 

#NotAll Fantasy: a book you liked from a genre you don’t often read.

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A genre I read the least of as well as one I am rarely interested in is nonfiction. Tuesdays with Morrie is one that comes to mind. I read it for a sociology/WGS course in my senior year of college. Even my friends that aren’t big readers enjoyed that book. The praise surrounding Tuesdays with Morrie is well deserved. Reading about Mitch Albom writing a book about life lessons with his favorite college professor, Morrie, as Morrie lay on his deathbed was worthwhile. Although, my description is not doing it justice. You must read Tuesdays with Morrie for yourself.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

My 17 Favorite Books of 2017/My Reading Year in Review

Happy New Year!

I decided to make my last blog post of 2017 both my top 17 favorite books of the year combined with my reading year in review, starting with the review.

I read a total of 67 books this year. 2017 was the first year of the five I’ve been on Goodreads that I decided not to do a yearly reading challenge. I decided to do this because in 2016, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to read midst trying to finish college and get a job after graduation. I also did away with monthly TBRs to read what I wanted when I felt like it.

In the first half of the year, it worked. At the time, I was working retail and often mentally too drained to read at the end of the day. Then, the store I worked in closed and I found work with a temp agency. Through the agency, I was hired to work in a library, with about an hour and a half commute every day. Suddenly, instead of going on Netflix or YouTube, I had motivation to read more.

For the first few months of 2017, my average number of books read per month was five. My friends would call that successful, only I was struggling with it. Mainly because I knew I could do better. In fact, in November, I set a Goodreads of 65 books when I was at about 58 books read trying to see if having a goal helped me read. It worked.

The biggest issue I have with my reading in 2017 as a whole is the quality of books I read. There were so many great books sitting unread on my shelves, yet I kept putting them aside for titles that ultimately disappointed me. Looking at my reading stats for 2017, I realized that is often what happened.

Don’t get me wrong: I did read some real gems this year. But compared to 2016 or even 2015, 2017 was lukewarm. I have enough favorites for seventeen, but if you asked which one was my all-time favorite, I would not be able to tell you. These aren’t in any particular order; they are simply books I read this year I really liked.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None was the first book I have ever read by Agatha Christie. Now I know why she is called the Queen of Mystery.

The story is set in a mansion on a secluded island, where ten strangers are invited to a dinner party. While there, the guests discover they have been targeted by a madman for their perceived sins and are trapped there during a storm as they are killed one-by-one in the method of a child’s nursery rhyme. And Then There Were None was exactly how I like my mysteries: darkly compelling setting, fast-paced, and morally gray characters.

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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The sequel to An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night confirmed that I love Sabaa Tahir’s series more than Sarah J. Maas’s…and I’m not ashamed to say that whatsoever. I love the main characters, Laia and Elias. The world building is amazing and the story is fast-paced and exciting, even with its size. Now, I am just anxiously waiting to get my hands on the third book in the series, A Reaper at the Gates.

 

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

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All We Have Left is a young adult contemporary novel following two teenaged girls connected to 9/11. The first is Jesse, a sixteen-year-old in 2016, whose older brother died in the Twin Towers. All her life, she has lived in his shadow, causing her to make a stupid mistake that forces her to finally uncover the secrets to her brother’s death. The other POV is Alia, a teenaged Muslim girl in 2001 that finds herself trapped inside the Towers with a boy she just met but must rely on to survive.

The writing in this novel was beautiful, filled with great quotes about friendship, family, religion, Islam phobia, and other subjects. Both Jesse and Alia have the best character development I have ever seen in a young adult contemporary, Jesse especially, as she starts out an angry, lonely kid but grows up fast.

 

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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A List of Cages is a 2017 young adult release that follows two boys, Adam and Julien. Five years ago, the boys were foster brothers until Julien’s uncle came and took him away. Now, the boys are in high school, Adam a senior and Julien a freshman, and the former realizes the latter is in terrible trouble at home. The writing in this novel was so beautiful, you would never think it was Robin Roe’s first book. I loved Adam and Julien. I cried because I could not protect Julien from what was happening to him. There was discussion of learning disabilities, as both boys have them, as well as child abuse. A List of Cages had a strong friendship element I loved, too.

 

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

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City of Saints and Thieves is set in modern-day Kenya, following sixteen-year-old Tina, a refugee from the Congo. Five years prior, Tina’s mother was murdered and she fled the estate where her mother worked as a maid, intending to return to seek revenge on the man she believed killed her mother. Tina has survived all these years as a thief for the most notorious gang in the city. But when her supposedly perfect plan goes wrong, she is forced to face the secrets of her mother’s past that put everything she thought she knew into a new perspective.

City of Saints and Thieves is the first book I’ve read both set in Kenya and about a refugee. While there has been some criticism around this book not being OWN voices, I found the author’s experience as a volunteer working with refugees from the Congo still worth something. She was not shy about showing how hard life is in that part of the world. She also brought to life a strong, fierce Tina, someone I think Aelin from Throne of Glass would tip her hat to. Tina is what made this book for me.

 

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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The Forbidden Wish is a beautifully written retelling of Aladdin with a female genie as the protagonist. Zahra, the jinn, has been trapped inside a lamp for centuries until the mortal thief Aladdin releases her. When the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance at freedom, she agrees to help Aladdin in his quest for revenge against the royal family in order to reach her own goal. There’s just one problem: Aladdin falls in love with Zahra—and she with him.

The world of the jinni in The Forbidden Wish was both fascinating and terrifying. Zahra was a great protagonist; wise and strong in her own way. Aladdin himself was as swoon-worthy as the boy in the Disney movie. Plus, this book had an ensemble of lady assassins that made it even more fun.

 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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I finally read Lady Midnight this summer, just in time for Lord of Shadows to come out a month or two later. Since I have yet to read the sequel, I can say so far The Dark Artifices has a chance of becoming my new favorite series in the Shadowhunters Chronicles.

I love feisty and smart Emma Carstairs. Julien Blackthorn is the first Shadowhunter guy—aside from Jem Carstairs—to make me feel so weak in the knees. I love the Blackthorn family and the crew at the Los Angeles Institute. The plot of this novel is darker, more interesting than previous Shadowhunter novels. Plus, the reviews surrounding Lord of Shadows promises that The Dark Artifices will only get better with each book.

 

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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The second and final novel in The Wrath & the Dawn duology, The Rose & the Dagger was as good as the first. Renee Ahdieh has a lovely writing style that made the book seem to fly by, even being over 400 pages. I love Shazi and Khalid as a couple as well as individuals. The world the author created was so magical and vivid; I hope she someday writes more books in the series. While I think I liked The Wrath & the Dawn slightly more than The Rose & the Dagger, it was still a satisfying, heartwarming conclusion to the duology.

 

Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

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The Saga graphic novels are the only science fiction stories I am seriously into. The last few volumes in this series were mildly disappointing. For most of Saga, Vol. 7, I would have rated this book 4 stars or lower. Then, the ending happened…The last chapter of this volume broke my heart. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples went there with this story. Now, I’m excited to see where Vol. 8 is going to take the rest of the series.

I remember I finished Saga, Vol. 7 on the train home and I couldn’t cry because there were people.

 

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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Another young adult contemporary novel, Made You Up follows Alex, a schizophrenic high school senior. She tackles life with her polaroid camera and a Crazy 8 ball to separate her delusions from reality. When she transfers high schools, she meets Myles, a boy she thought she made up at eight years old, and uncovers a mystery that makes her wonder if she is not the only “crazy” person at her new school.

Despite its heavy topic, Made You Up is a fun, easy read that gives insight to a mental illness not often seen in literature and often dramatized by media. Alex is sassy and does not let her mental illness define her. The story was also not one you see often in young adult literature, which I enjoyed the most.

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

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The next retelling I read and loved this year, Jane Steele is a reimagining of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Only the Jane Eyre in this story, Jane Steele, is a morally gray but ultimately good-natured serial killer who targets men that abuse women and children. The writing was beautiful and the story was engrossing. Jane Steele was an interesting main character. The plot was twisted and the atmosphere was a realistic, grittier portrait of Victorian London. Lastly, Charles Thornfield, the Mr. Rochester of the novel, was ten times sexier than the original.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

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My favorite historical fiction of this year, Lilac Girls centers on an untold story of World War II: the experiments done to the prisoners at Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp for women. The novel follows three women—American Caroline Ferriday, Polish teenager Kasia Kuzmerick, and German doctor Herta Oberheuser—all having ties to the Ravensbruck experiments. The whole novel was amazing and the characters equally amazing. It also showed that, while men might have been serving at the front, women were the backbone of the country during the war. And human beings can do terrible things to each other, but humans are also terribly complicated.

 

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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Truthwitch is the first novel in a high fantasy series in a world ruled by witches. That is all I needed to know when I read it and this first book did not disappoint. I liked the two leading ladies, Safi and Iseult, and I loved their friendship. Prince Merrick made me feel weaker in the knees than Rhysand ever did. The world building was great and the magic system was fascinating. I can dare say I loved Truthwitch more than Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series or even her A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy….

 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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Passenger was a book that took me by surprise. I liked Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds trilogy but I didn’t love it. Passenger and its sequel Wayfarer show she’s already improved so much.

The time-traveling element was as complicated as one would expect time travel to be. The story was fast-paced. Etta Spencer is an underrated female protagonist; she’s strong without needing a sword and she uses her head. Nicholas Carter is one of my new favorite romantic heroes. I don’t understand why more people aren’t as obsessed with him as they are with Rhysand or William Herondale. I also don’t understand why more people don’t love this duology as much as I do. But his to their own, I suppose.

 

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

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I completed Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy this year and it is one of my favorite series of all-time. I picked up The Afterlife of Holly Chase, her most recent release, last month from the library to read for the holidays. It is a retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which follows Holly Chase, a failed Scrooge, that spends her afterlife working as the Ghost of Christmas Past for Project Scrooge, an organization dedicated to redeeming a Scrooge every year. This year, though, everything changes for Holly with this year’s new Scrooge: Ethan Winters.

I don’t know why, but I never expected to love The Afterlife of Holly Chase as much as I did. The overall book was simply delightful. Holly had her annoying moments, but she also had good character development. I can’t wait to actually buy it myself.

 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Daughter of the Pirate King was an impulse buy. Thankfully, it did not let me down. Alossa was a morally gray badass female pirate captain. The book accurately portrayed life on a pirate ship, especially what it was like for a woman. The story was fun and action-packed with twists and turns searching for the treasure map. Lastly, Riden, Alossa’s only love interest, is another swoon-worthy gentleman you can’t help but love.

 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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The Upside of Unrequited was a little low on the rating scale compared to all the other books on this list, but it was the most relatable. Molly is a real-life teenager with real-life teenaged problems and a real-life family. The romance in this story is super sweet and cute and relationship goals for me. The book covered everything from friendship, family, romance, and sexuality. The Upside of Unrequited made me feel all the feels.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Wicked like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

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I really liked Wicked Like a Wildfire for its beautiful writing and setting as well as the magic in the story. However, I had some problems with it, enough that earned it a spot as an honorable mention instead of a favorite.

 

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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The Star-Touched Queen had beautiful writing and a beautiful world based in Indian mythology. It is a Hades and Persephone retelling with a female protagonist I really liked. Unfortunately, the story fell a little flat for me in the end.

 

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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I loved Love and First Sight for its comedy, writing style, and the blind/disability representation. I liked the main character, Will, and his romance with Cecily was super cute. But at some point it went in a direction I was not expecting, as it felt too much like John Green, that I had to dock down a few points.

 

What was your favorite book(s) of 2017?

The Christmas Song Book Tag

I was at a loss for Christmas ideas for my blog. To be truthful, I have not been in the Christmas spirit lately…but you all don’t need my drama to bring you down.

I saw this Christmas Song Book Tag floating around and immediately jumped on it. If there is anything I love, it is Christmas music.

 

“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

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Tamlin from the A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. While I do not approve of his actions in A Court of Mist and Fury, I can’t forget the sweetheart he was in the first book. Tamlin is broken and I’m not sure a lot of people see that.

 

“All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

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Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, and Winter, the remaining books in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I already own Cinder, the first book in the series. I have wanted to get into this extremely popular series for a long time.

 

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

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Because I am currently rereading the series, I will have to go with Harry Potter for this question. I’m on page 183 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and, at thirteen, Harry already has so much to deal with. And I know it will only get worse from here.

 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”: Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

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Looking at the books I’ve read so far this year, the top spot of the Nice List would go to Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken, for his self-sacrificing actions in Wayfarer. As for the Naughty List, the top spot would belong to Snake from Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor, for getting a girl pregnant, for being arrogant, and for being a big baby.

 

“Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart?

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Two books tied for melting my heart in 2017: Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. Love and First Sight is about a blind boy falling in love for the first time and learning to live as a sighted person after an experimental surgery. It is a sweet book but has more depth to it than one might think. The Upside of Unrequited is about a teenaged girl who finally has the imitative to find her first boyfriend after 26 crushes. This book was simply too cute for words.

 

“Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

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The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which takes place in Barcelona, Spain in the 1920s and 1930s. Though it was a different time period, the author made the city appear beautiful and mysterious.

 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday-themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

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I make it a point to watch at least one version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol every year. That’s the story that always brings me the most Christmas joy.

 

“Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)?

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I think this goes without saying but the Blackthorn from Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. They are such a close-knit, loving family, and they would know the holidays are about appreciating those you love.

 

“Baby, it’s Cold Outside”: Which book would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself against the cold?

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I hate the idea of burning books, so this question kind of makes me uncomfortable. But if it was between hypothermia and me I would likely burn Woman of God by James Patterson, one of my most hated books of 2017.

 

“Do you hear what I hear”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

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One book I don’t talk about a lot that I think everyone—especially young girls—should read is Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston. The book follows Hermione Winters, a high school cheerleader who is drugged and raped at cheerleading camp, and finds out she is pregnant as a result. But she refuses to be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear talks about abortion in an honest way and shows readers there is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Hermione and her best friend Polly have the strongest female friendship I have ever seen in young adult contemporary literature. Plus, the rest of the cheerleading squad, the girls and boys, rally behind Hermione after she is raped. Hermione defies the labels, making it clear she is not a victim and shoots down rape culture. Most importantly, there is the positive support Hermione receives from her family, school, the local police, and her community that many rape victims sadly do not experience in real life.

 

“Father Christmas” by the Kinks: Which book was just mean, i.e. it made you ask the author ‘Why are you making me read this?’ Even though you couldn’t put it down?

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For this question, I’m going to say Go Ask Alice. It was a banned book I have wanted to read for a long time. Despite it being so boring, I could not stop reading.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

The Book Pizza Tag

I saw this tag on Books Amino, created by Jessica. It looked like fun. Surprisingly, this tag didn’t make me as hungry as I expected it to. Maybe it might for you.

 

Cheese: a simple book that possesses much more depth to it.

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I had to think about this question for a minute before I answered. I came up with is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian follows fourteen-year-old Junior, a Spokane Indian that leaves his reservation to attend an all-white school in town to pursue a better life. He is written as an awkward teenaged boy that has a dirty sense of humor. At first, it seems like a lighthearted comedy novel that tackles racism in a humorous light. But Junior encounters tragedies throughout the year that he triumphs over, using humor and his comics as his weapon.

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Pepperoni: a well-known, continuously popular work.

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Basically anything by Sarah J. Maas, who came out with two books this past year. Even when Tower of Dawn came out, which was about probably one of her least popular characters Chaol Westfall, people still were excited about it. They are probably going to go crazy again when the A Court of Thorns and Roses novella comes out next year. Anything she writes, people get excited for.

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Mushroom: a textbook you found engaging.

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I can think of a few that I read for a vampire class I took my freshman year of college. I just can’t remember the titles.

 

Sausage: a literary work that has just the right dose of a particular genre.

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, which is my favorite novel that I have read by her. It is the right amount of romance that it does not take up the whole plot. There are also themes of family, sisterhood, and social commentary.

 

Extra cheese: a work that was longer than it needed to be.

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Probably In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken, the last book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. The first book, The Darkest Minds, was good and Never Fade was fun. However, In the Afterlight was kind of boring and took too long to reach the end. Plus, there was an unnecessary epilogue. Thankfully, Alexandra Bracken’s work has improved since then.

 

Garden: favorite literary vegetarian (writer or character).

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I think Meg Cabot is a vegetarian, but I could be wrong. I can’t think of any characters that are vegetarian.

 

Grandma: a work that makes you think of your grandparents.

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Hans and Rosa from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak remind me of my paternal grandparents, who were Portuguese immigrants. My grandfather was kind and loving like Hans, an honest man who made a decent living for himself despite his fourth-grade education. My grandmother is still hard around the edges and a bossy loudmouth, overbearing but sometimes has good intentions.

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Hawaiian: a work with a tropic atmosphere.

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, which is the first book I thought of because of the island setting; a very enclosed island where the family tried to avoid each other. I don’t know, is it tropical?

 

Anchovy: a work you feel you and most people dislike.

cheese, cutlery, delicious

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, a book I know I hated as much as some others. After learning it is supposedly Twilight fan fiction, I could forgive some of the elements in it. The love interest was abusive, something you get if you translate Edward Cullen’s behavior in a contemporary setting. There are characters I like now that I know have abusive or manipulative behavior, yet I still have some feeling towards them, though I know I probably shouldn’t. Looking back on it, I hated Beautiful Disaster because the writing was so bad and so were the main character.

 

Stuffed crust: a work that grabbed your attention at first sight.

beef, cheese, circle

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which I saw at my school library in college. I didn’t have the time to check it out then. Eventually, I bought it at a bookstore in Salem, Massachusetts, one of my favorite places on Earth. I read it and, as I expected, I loved it.

theshadowsofthewind

 

Best of the best: what is your favorite kind of pizza?

My favorite kind of pizza is BBQ chicken with blue cheese.

Pizza GIF

 

What is your favorite kind of pizza?

 

 

 

My Top Ten Favorite Paranormal Novels

In honor of Halloween being this month, October will be all about the spooky stuff—horror, paranormal, and fantasy. Paranormal novels are what got me into reading. Let’s see if I can keep this down to ten.

 

The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

darkestpowers

The books that started it all were the Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, which follows teenaged necromancer Chloe Saunders and her supernatural friends that are on the run from the scientists that performed experiments on them. If you enjoyed The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken, there’s a good chance you will like this trilogy, too, because they are very similar. The paranormal world building is action-packed with unexpected twists. Chloe is an underrated female protagonist; she might not be a badass one hundred percent of the time, but she’s strong in her own way. Her friends are a tight-knit squad, each you grow to like for various reasons.

            It has been years since I have read The Darkest Powers trilogy. Writing this has made me want to read them again.

 

Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

otherworldseries

The Women of the Otherworld series was not my introduction to paranormal or urban fantasy, but it was my first foray into adult novels. And when I say “adult,” I mean in-your-face sex scenes rather than behind closed doors. While I have yet to read the final book in the main series (SHAME!) or the additional anthologies that have been published in recent years, I still consider Women of the Otherworld one of my favorite paranormal series because of the modern-day supernatural world Kelley Armstrong created with the great plot twists and diverse characters.

 

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot

themediator

A staple from my teenaged years that has stuck with me like The Darkest Powers has, The Mediator follows New York transplant Suze Simon, who has been seeing ghosts all her life, as she moves to Caramel-by-the-Sea, California, into an old house with her bedroom already occupied by an 180-year-old ghost named Jesse da Silva. Each novel in the series follows Suze as she deals with various troublesome ghosts in the area and tries (and fails) to not fall for Jesse.

Suze is another forgotten heroine. She knows how to fight, but she is independent and uses her head. Jesse is a sexy sweetheart. While the fantasy elements might be considered a little out there now, I would compare it to the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead: just good, campy fun!

 

Anna Dressed in Blood duology by Kendare Blake

annadressedinblood2

Anna Dressed in Blood and its sequel Girl of Nightmares are some of my all-time favorite books. The duology follows Theseus Cassio Lowood, also known as Cas, a sarcastic ghost hunter that comes to a small Canada town to get rid of a violent local ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood. But there’s something about Anna that Cas can’t put his finger on—perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she let him live.

One thing I must say about the Anna Dressed in Blood books is that it has the kind of bittersweet ending young adult fantasy authors tend to avoid. Like, it is a happy ending, but not the kind of happy ending readers hope for. That, and its great characters that are friendship goals.

 

Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand

theunearthlytrilogy

Despite being filled with almost every kind of trope in young adult paranormal literature, the Unearthly trilogy was still a fun read. Clara is a half-angel destined to fulfill a purpose but dark angels and a messy love triangle gets in her way. This series was just a fun, fast-paced read with angels. If you like The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, you might like this. Plus, the covers are beautiful.

 

Half Bad trilogy by Sally Green

thehalfbadtrilogy

A paranormal trilogy about witches and black magic, Half Bad is best described as dark. The magic system was a little confusing at first, but once I got used to it, it was fascinating. Such as, you can absorb another witch’s powers by eating their heart—isn’t that cool? Plus, the characters, especially the protagonist Nathan, are all morally gray and the finale of the whole story is beautifully messy. The ending of the final book Half Lost broke my heart, but given the situation the characters were in, it was realistic.

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruelbeauty

Likely the most polarizing book on this whole list, Cruel Beauty is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with demons and Greek mythology. Nyx is considered an unlikeable protagonist, but she was born and raised to marry a demon lord. I found her character to be true to certain aspects. Everyone that loves Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas would probably love the love interest in Cruel Beauty. I have not read this book in years, but I still consider it a favorite of mine because of the story and the romance.

 

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

TID

Definitely my favorite Shadowhunters series so far, The Infernal Devices won me over with its historical paranormal/steampunk elements, particularly Tessa’s shape-shifting ability. Plus, the characters in the Infernal Devices trilogy are my favorites.

 

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

thespacebetween

The Space Between is a book I have reread at least three times over the years. I haven’t in a while, though. It follows Daphne, the daughter of Lilith and Lucifer who leaves Hell for Earth to look for her older brother, Obie, who she thinks has been abducted by a fallen angel. She enlists the help of her brother’s friend, a troubled human boy named Truman, in her search.

The Space Between is a really dark book, obviously dealing with demons, but the characters and the story made it for me. My only complaint about it is the ending, which still irks me to this day. I have only read one book by her, but Brenna Yovanoff is an underrated author.

 

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

bloodandchocolate

A beautifully written paranormal novel, Blood and Chocolate centers on Vivian, a teenaged female werewolf that falls in love with a human and struggles with her dual nature when her pack falls into disarray after her father’s death. One thing I vividly remember about this novel was its portrayal of werewolves: the pack acted like real wolves when they shifted. Plus, it was true to the werewolf mythology, i.e. shifting during the full moon. It’s been so long since I read Blood and Chocolate, but the romance of this novel went into an unplanned direction that I ultimately preferred to where it started.

 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them?